321 East 73rd Street, 3rd Floor

New York City, NY 10021

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Michael Borek: What Would Sudek Do?

art exhibition 07 July, 2015 - 03 August, 2015

[BBLA Gallery]


BBLA Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of photographs by Michael Borek. In his first solo show in New York, Borek pays homage to the famous Czech photographer Josef Sudek, reflecting on beauty of places that people can see every day but no longer notice.


Michael Borek: “When I was a teenager growing up in Prague, I used to see a one-armed man in a shabby coat schlepping a tripod and a large-view camera. A friend told me that it was Josef Sudek, a famous Czech photographer. I—a young and fledgling photographer—bought a book of his pictures and immediately fell in love. I was smitten with the photographs Sudek had taken through the windows of his studio. They were simple and beautiful. I wished I was able to take such pictures. Sudek had an unmatched ability to notice sublime details, to include what is important, and to eliminate what is not. He created his own world in which the surroundings are only supporting actors. Now, many photographers imitate his style. Even though I borrowed his name for the title of this exhibition, and as a Czech photographer I may have a little of Sudek in my DNA, I hope that I am not one of them. Rather, in this exhibition, I attempt to inspire viewers to reflect on the beauty that can be found in the places they see every day and no longer even notice. Or, to borrow from Thoreau, “It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.” So whenever I end up in seemingly uninspiring places that feel visually dull, I think of the old maestro’s dilapidated studio, open my eyes a bit wider, and ask myself: What Would Sudek Do?


Michael Borek (b. 1958, former Czechoslovakia), a photographer now based in Washington, D.C., is originally from Prague. Only after graduating from the School of Economics in the 1980s, he realized that he did not want to work as an economist under the old regime. Instead, he took a job as a night watchman, while attending intensive English courses during the day. After passing the required exams, he started working as a freelance interpreter, which gave him more flexibility to pursue his interests. One of them, photography, stayed with him all of his life, and later turned into his second career. In 2006, Borek became a member of the Multiple Exposures Gallery in the Torpedo Factory in Alexandria, Virginia, and he started showing his photographs. In 2008, he had a solo exhibition at the Czech Embassy in Washington, DC, and, in 2009, he was a featured artist in the Rayko Gallery in San Francisco. His photographs from the abandoned lace factory in Scranton, Pennsylvania, were selected for juried shows by curators from the Corcoran, Whitney, Hirshhorn, Getty, and Phillips museums. One of them won second prize in the fine art category of the international competition of FotoWeek DC in Washington, DC. In 2011, one of Borek’s solo exhibitions featuring his works from this portfolio was ranked as one of the ten best photography exhibitions in Washington, DC, by photography critic Louis Jacobson. In 2012, the Maryland State Arts Council awarded Borek an Individual Artist Award and Grant. In 2013, the US Embassy in the Czech Republic presented a solo retrospective exhibition of Borek’s photography at the American Center in Prague, and in May 2014 this exhibition was shown in Pilsen, Czech Republic. In June 2014 Borek had a solo exhibition at the Czech Embassy in Washington, DC, as a part of celebration of the 90th anniversary of Franz Kafka's death.


For more information about Borek’s work, please visit www.michaelborek.com.



BBLA Gallery at Bohemian National Hall

321 East 73rd Street, 3rd Floor

New York, NY 10021

viewing hours: Monday - Friday 10:00 am - 5:00 pm

(Please note that BBLA's exhibition space is occasionally closed for events. Call 212-988-1733 to verify access.)


Opening reception: Thursday, July 9, 7:00 pm, with introduction by the artist.

Free and open to the public.


This event is co-sponsored by Embassy of the Czech Republic, Washington D.C.


All exhibited works are for sale, unless otherwise noted. Please contact Melanie Delesalle (BBLA) at 212-988-1733 for information on artworks and prices.



Image: What Would Sudek Do? #0412, 2013, pigment print, photo courtesy of Michael Borek

Bohemian Benevolent & Literary AssociationHospodaThe National Czech and Slovak MuseumAmerican Friends of the Czech RepublicCzech CenterConsulate General